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I Learned to Think Like an Editor During My Indypendent Internship

Lachlan Hyatt was our winter intern and is now on his way to fulfill a Fulbright and study journalism at Columbia.

Lachlan Hyatt Aug 31

Lachlan Hyatt

Not only did working as The Indypendent’s Winter 2022 Intern lead to some of the most fulfilling reporting I’ve ever done, but also taught me how to think like an editor and set me up for future success.

When I first encountered The Indy, I knew I wanted to see one of my stories in its pages. Working as a freelance journalist in New York City covering social-justice-oriented beats, I immediately recognized The Indy as a publication with a ground-up perspective on social issues impacting working New Yorkers. In the fall of 2021, I pitched a long form piece about the struggles of New York City laundry workers during the pandemic to John Tarleton, the newspaper’s editor. To my joy, the article was picked up and was the cover story for the October 2021 issue. After this, I quickly became involved with writing for The Indy and haven’t looked back.

Upon publishing my first piece, Amba Gueguerian, the paper’s associate editor, reached out and asked if I could cover an event that she was too busy to make it to. Less than 24 hours later, I was embedded with a group of activists on my way to a New Jersey safehouse to cover a demonstration against ICE outside of a high-security prison. 

Hyatt worked with Indy Editor-in-Chief John Tarleton

Time after time, I was assigned fantastic stories to report on for The Indy, including the Staten Island Amazon unionization push. When I saw that there was an upcoming opportunity to work as a winter intern, I quickly leapt at the chance. Though I was already steadily writing for The Indy, any opportunity learn more at the grassroots paper was something I couldn’t ignore. 

Through this internship, I continued to report on assignments. I began to write pieces for the website rather than solely for the monthly print issues. Attending editorial meetings, I heard numerous stories presented and I could choose how I wanted to contribute and which stories I wanted to pursue. This led me to co-write a piece with John Tarleton, an experience that really helped me more fully understand how to read between the lines of a story and draw out angles rather than just report straight-up on developments. I saw how issues could be tailored to the reader’s interests and how a smaller story could be linked to broader perspectives. 

The Indy’s internship is an opportunity to work with a small team and learn practical skills that will help people grow as journalists and pursue their passions in community organizing and social justice. I expanded my ability to communicate with editors on developing stories, created webs of contacts building up certain beats and thought about the best ways to present or structure stories. I was also able to pitch my own stories for publication and the editors were always around to help guide me through my thinking of the piece, figure out compelling ways to frame it and conquer challenges. 

When I first encountered The Indy, I knew I wanted to see one of my stories in its pages.

With great bylines and real-life experience under my belt, this internship also helped make me a great candidate for competitive opportunities. Using clips I had published with The Indypendent in my application, I was admitted into the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School with a large financial aid package to pursue an MS degree. In my application, I wrote about working with The Indy and how that helped me know I wanted to use my reporting to help others. 

Additionally, I was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct a journalism project in Estonia for 10 months. I contribute a large part of my selection to the clips from The Indy I submitted in my application. Without the bylines and experience I earned writing with The Indy, I don’t know if I would be in the great position I’m now in. 

Simply put, if you are looking to craft compelling stories of social justice, strengthen your news judgment and reporting skills, and come away with great experience, then I strongly suggest considering an internship with The Indypendent.

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